Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s practice of clubbing nearby countries in a region on a foreign tour to ensure maximum outreach is quite well known now. Instead of individual visits to countries, multi-nation tours are the flavour of the season with engagements packed one after the other.
After PM Modi was criticised for his extensive foreign tours in the first year (eight countries in 2014 alone), it seems the PMO, under the direction of the Prime Minister, has made amends to save time on foreign visits. The Prime Minister, it seems, prefers to sleep on the plane instead of staying at a hotel if there are no engagements the next day in that country thus saving valuable time. In 2016, on his tour of Saudi Arabia, US and Belgium, PM Modi is reported to have slept two nights in the plane travelling from one country to the other instead of pitching at a hotel. Compared to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, PM Modi has covered far more ground in fewer trips in the first two years.
Now, it is being reported that the Prime Minister spent close to 33 hours on Air India One in his four-day (120 hours) trip to Portugal, US and the Netherlands. He left India at 7 am on June 24 (Saturday) for his first destination of Lisbon continuing the same evening for Washington without staying at a hotel.
Clocking around eight hours on the next flight to the US, the Prime Minister reached early Sunday morning local time. Over the next two days, he has a bunch of engagements including meetings with US President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, US CEOs and an interaction event with the Indian community in Washington. As he has no engagements in the US on the third day, PM Modi left for Amsterdam Monday night choosing to sleep on the plane for the transit.
Again in the Netherlands, in one of the shortest visits, the Prime Minister spent less than 12 hours meeting the Dutch PM Mark Rutte, Dutch CEOs and other officials of the government. He emplaned for Delhi 7 pm local time and reached New Delhi 6 am Wednesday capping four days of travel outside the country.